Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Egos of scale

Ken Livingstone is the marmite of British politics - you either love him or hate him. But whatever you may think of Mayor Ken (can you believe they invited him to Davos?), most of us skyscraper geeks have a soft spot for him. Did you know that in 1974, one of London's most hated buildings, Centrepoint, was occupied by a London School of Economics lecturer and his students who were protesting at bad architecture in London? The lecturer was Ken Livingstone.

And without London's most ____ (fill in your adjective) politician being an expert in architecture and having ultimate say in the planning decisions, we would still be stuck in Christopher Wren's London. But thankfully, London has come a long way since the late 80s when British architecture was still reeling from Prince Charles' attacks on it, a time unlike today when his opinions on the subject were more welcome than a police raid on a brothel. No, London has certainly benefited from Ken who has been like a bottle of HP sauce to the London landscape, a means of adding a bit of piquancy to the menu. Sorry, I know, enough with the metaphors already.

But if there are any other high-rise enthusiasts out there:

Watch this video for London's future Bishopsgate Tower (or the Helter-skelter as it is more commonly known). The tallest building in the rendering pictured above.

Check out the ever-popular Architecture Foundation Winter Nights programme which was established in order to provide "a platform for smaller, independent practices to inspire and provoke," and as a result they don't just focus on the Lord Rogers of this world, but on emerging architects whose works don't necessarily live in the shadow of their names. Wednesday evenings from Jan 17. 16 Brewhouse Yard, EC1. £3 on door. Talks start at 7pm, doors open at 6.30pm.


Anonymous honkman said...

What do I think of Ken?

Let me just tell you that Ken is planning a massive festival across London, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Castro revoltion in Cuba.

The event, which is due to be staged in 2009, will involve street parties, sports venues and some of London's leading museums as well as the closure of Trafalgar Square.

The kick in the teeth for Londoners is that this will cost us an expected £2million!!

So, not only, does Ken associate himself with some of the most odious people around, it's us Londoners who are being asked to pay out for the privilage.
Besides, who in their right mind would want to attend a street party celebrating a communist revolution!
The mayoral election cannot come a day too soon!!

5:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken Livingstone has repeatedly vowed that he would not increase council taxes beyond 38p per week to pay for the games. The thing is, can we trust him to keep his word? Remember his promise to save the Routemaster? Remember his ancient promise to freeze tube fares in real terms for four years? Remember his promise not to raise the congestion charge for ten years?

5:22 pm  
Anonymous HeartyBowl said...

Awesome clip. Made me think I lived in a real world-class City for a minute there.

5:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

F*uck off all of you time wasters. Without Ken we wouldn;t have won the bid or have a building over 4 stories tall. Because Steven Norris was such a good option. W*nkers!

5:28 pm  
Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

CS, I'll resist the urge to comment on Mr. Livingston and instead direct you and other architecture/high rise fans to www.emporis.com, which enables you to view the entire array of incredible London buildings past, present and future, including The Shard, The Leadenhall Building, One Blackfriars Road and Heron Tower. If these are all built, will anyone even recognize London? Will anyone care?

5:30 pm  
Anonymous GenRegs said...

Red Ken is an evil Nazi who has no limit about where he wants to go with Londonistan as he as created it!!

5:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Want to Earn a Good Wage CS readers?
Then work for Transport For London

Across the whole TfL “group” the number paid over £50K is a staggering 821. The group employs 76 people who earn over £100K.
Nice work if you can get it. Shame its the commuters and taxpayers of London that pick up the bill.

5:35 pm  
Anonymous Robin said...

I thought Ken just killed babies and suffocated pensioners. I didn't know raised taxes and held parades too?? Don't you hate it when politicians do their job?

Helter skelter looks awesome. Eat that Prnce Charlie.

5:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Livingstone is the crappiest politician that has ever had the audacity to stride the political stage. Why Londoners voted this pathetic joke of a man to be mayor of London I will never understand. I am opposed to just about everything he has ever stood from since the time of the GLC, the congestion charge extension is but the latest. What made me shout at the TV in disgust lately was his comments against Jack Straw about bringing wearing of islamic veils to debate. How PC of him. A man who accused a jew of being a nazi guard in a concentation camp. What a total hypocritical twat.

8:13 pm  
Anonymous MarkT said...

He's an evil dictator. Most residents and businesses don't want the congestion charge extended, yet he admitted he'll do it anyway because the tfl surveys were just formalities. Absolute nutter. And he's whining about raising transport costs again. Bus prices are really something else - the smallest journey can cost an absolute fortune. And using 2012 as an excuse for price hikes, tsch tsch, Ken. It's all a dictatorship. How is my grandmother going to make use of an Olympic facility? Exactly, so why does she have to pay for it until the end of eternity? I really don't know how he got voted in - does anyone actually know someone who likes him? It's all a conspiracy.

8:14 pm  
Anonymous Nat said...

Ken should have never broken up with Barbie,so what if she wore skippy clothes and flirted with other guys but hey you know he was gettening some!Then again maybe this is a good thing.New barbies could be inveted like"divourse barbie or working the streets barbie or sex in the city barbie and why not even help me im on welfare barbie.and ken could have new dolls to like,'deadbeat dad ken ,stripper ken,and hey want five bucks for a good time ken.Ken really wasnt that hot anyway i guess i mean he always seemed to like barbies friends boyfriends .yep him and eric were a little to close there.I just hope barbie does good in court...I wounder who will get the dream house.

8:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog here. WIill be back. Found you from CIF on Guardian.

8:25 pm  
Anonymous Juan said...

Wow - is that London's skyline in the future? AWESOME. If Ken is responsible for letting them get away with such ground breaking design than how could you fault him on that end?

8:40 pm  
Anonymous max said...

Never mind all that, where's my copy of High-Rise? Don't you still have it?

10:54 pm  
Blogger Habibi said...

When I people asks how is London (Been living there and going back) I always say that I was surprised how wide, flat and short it was, comparing it to Barcelona, full of tall buildings. I like the 3 floors' buildings and the open skies. Though, I think that building is great and will clean up the face of the City.

11:10 pm  
Anonymous GA said...


You know that I borrowed High Rise from CS. I should be finished with it soon.

11:15 pm  
Anonymous ella said...

Hey Slicky: There is a review of the tapas bar you wrote of last week in today's Metro and Time Out. Read it here first of course :-)

12:57 pm  
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4:00 am  

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